Second Snow D-Tackle Getting Looks

Badger defensive line coach Jason Ah You has a deep stable of talented defensive linemen to work with and develop. Last year Coach Ah You sent d-linemen Junior Tea to Oklahoma State, Sioeli Nau to Oregon State and Thor Pili to UNLV. This year he has three that BYU, Utah, OSU, Texas A&M and others are looking at as well.

BYU coaches are fully aware of 6-foot-1-inch, 311-pound Badger defensive tackle David Hola, who recorded three sacks and 11 tackles for losses last season on a defense line that focused first on stopping the run. Along with Hola, BYU coaches are also fully aware of his 6-foot-1-inch, 300-pound teammate Tevita Tufuga.

"I'm 6'1", 300 pounds and my forty time is 5.1," said Tevita Tufuga. "My bench max right now is around 400 pounds and I play defensive nose tackle.

"The type of player that I think I am is I'm a pretty well rounded player. I can stop the run if I have to and I can pass rush as well if needed. I just feel I can pretty much do it all."

"David is so strong," said Snow Assistant Coach Jason Ah You. "He's so strong and can't be blocked by just one person. He gets good leverage and with his strength he gets great penetration. He comes to practice and he plays hard. He's a leader on our team and most of the guys look up to him. He's our emotional firecracker on our d-line right now. He's the guy who gets there and then gets the rest of the guys pumped up ready to go."

Heading into his redshirt sophomore year, Tefuga hopes to follow up on a rather successful freshman year he had last season.

"I really didn't keep track of my stats from last year," said Tufuga. "There was an article that I read about me just recently that did have my stats on there. It said I had three sacks, 50 tackles. I thought I played overall very well. I got to contribute really well to the team and was able to help the team accomplish some goals defensively. Statistically our defense only gave up around 12 and half points per game last year, so I felt I contributed pretty well to that."

College recruiters from both instate and from across the country have taken notice in the big Samoan defensive tackle.

"I've been talking to Texas A&M and Colorado," Tufuga said. "I spoke to BYU and Washington State the other day as well. As far as letters go I got some from New Mexico, who is pretty interested, and Oregon State. I haven't received any scholarships yet but I was told they are looking ahead towards the future as far as possible, making offers. It is looking really promising though."

BYU's defensive scheme is a bit different than Snow College's, but Tufuga is willing to come down to BYU and learn more about what the university has to offer.

"I know that BYU runs a 3-4-4 defense," said Tufuga. "Here at Snow we run a 4-3-4 defense. It's a little different than what I'm used to running, but it does appear that BYU has a really good program. I don't really know too much more than that, but I would like to learn more about BYU's program. Coach Tidwell has invited me to come up there for a chat and a visit if I have any questions about the program. I look forward to taking him up on that offer and coming down there for a visit.

In regards to possibly switching from a 4-3-4 defense to a 3-4-4 defense, Tufuga feels he has the physical abilities to adapt himself to the defense scheme change if the situation presents itself.

"The 3-4-4 defense is not something that I don't want to do. It's a scheme that I could adapt to, and being a nose guard, we do go head up sometimes with the center. So it is something that I can adapt to in the 3-4-4 defense. It's not the funnest position to play in the world, getting that double team all game, but it is something that I know I could adapt to and excel at."

"I think he would be a good fit in BYU's 3-4-4 scheme," Coach Ah You said. "He would be more of a nose guard and would blow that center back because his strength is unreal. His ‘get off the line' and leverage is unreal. I've never seen someone demand a double team as much as he does, which allows the linebackers to get into the backfield with greater ease. He's that good."

In regards to being a BYU fit, Tufuga feels comfortable because of his LDS upbringing.

"I am LDS and I've been raised in the church all of my life," said Tufuga. "I am attracted to an atmosphere that fits more this lifestyle. I think it would be a plus for me to have this around me and in my life. If there is a program that could offer me those things it would be a program that I would definitely be attracted to."

"Yeah, I could definitely see myself being a good fit for BYU. I feel I would be a good fit for BYU and like I said I could play the nose guard position and play it well."

On top of being LDS, he is married and has two children. His wife also pays close attention to her husband's recruiting situation and, according to Tevita, even has a say in matter.

"Yeah, I'm married and I've been married for four years now," Tufuga said. "My wife's name is Jessica and she's a Samoan girl, and you definitely have to include your wife in this whole process. You have to keep the wife happy, but she definitely will have a say in this.

"It will be a decision we will make together concerning the best school that offers the best situation for the both of us. She's pretty excited to see the interest that these schools have for me and how things are going, but right now we're just looking at some of these schools and seeing what would be the best for the both of us."

"He's married and has two kids," Coach Ah You said. "He's a good kid and I think he would do well at BYU because of his situation with his family. You know, I'm so blessed to have him on my d-line because I can sit back and let him and David Hola make plays. This is a classic case of someone who just slipped through the recruiting cracks."

Tufuga will be a part of Snow College's graduation ceremony next month on May 5, but the big defensive tackle still needs one more class in the fall in order to get his degree.

"I graduate on May 5 and I'll probably schedule something after that so I can head on up there and check things out," Tufuga said. "I won't actually receive my degree until December. I still need one more class to graduate and I think they're just letting me walk early.

"I'll be a part of the graduating commencement this May but then I have to take one more class in the fall to get my degree. That way I don't have to come back after fall and spring next year to walk, but heading into finals it's been a little busy right now. I do look forward to going up there probably after the weekend after graduation."

Tufuga could take that one class during the summer and possibly sign at a D-I college for this year's fall camp. However, he feels he would like to stay one more year to try and get some more experience at the J.C. level.

"I could possibly do that but I've kind of made the decision to come back in the fall," said Tufuga. "I kind of made a commitment and want to get as much experience as I can before I move up to a D-I college."

On top of his interest in BYU, Tufuga is also interested in other D-I colleges and is doing his homework to learn more about all the colleges that have expressed interest in him.

"I'm pretty interested in Texas A&M as well and seeing what they have to offer," said Tufuga. "I like the conference that they're in and I think it would be a good challenge for me. I also think Washington State and the Pac-10 Conference that they're in would be another good conference that would challenge me as well.

"Right now I'm just trying to learn more about all of these programs that are looking at me before I can really say which one I'm more interested in over the other. I just want to learn as much as I can and see what my options are in the future.

"I haven't really decided yet depending on what my options might be in the future. I do think staying close to home would be great for me because I have family here. I have a lot of family here and my father isn't too healthy right now. If I could stay close to home and play here that would be great."

"You know, I think if BYU offered Tevita he would come to BYU," said Coach Ah You. "You know, I think if BYU offered both Hola and Tufuga they both would come to BYU. They want to stay close because of their families. They would rather stay close to home and play football close to their families here than go out of state."

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